5 times when it’s OK to rock the boat in youth sports

By Janis Meredith | Posted 9/25/2017

When you see bad behavior in youth sports, do you ignore it? We are programmed in today’s society to mind our own business, and there are certainly many instances when we should.

But sometimes, sports parents, you need to rock the boat.

One of my friends recently posted this story on Facebook:

The coach on the field behind us was cussing when the kids messed up. Even though he didn’t cuss directly at the boys, he did scream at the ground. I said something to him about his language and he just turned his head. I said something to the umpire and he said he didn’t hear the coach. I offered to show him my video to prove my point, and he shook his head. I said something to the grandparents sitting close by and they didn’t respond. I told them it was shameful for people to tolerate it. That’s the problem – people TOLERATE it so as not to rock the boat. You know what?? Rock the boat, if it sinks it was meant to!!

There is a time to be silent (complaining about playing time, position, etc.), and there is a time to speak up and rock the boat:

1. When coaches and parents are using inappropriate language in front of kids.

2. When coaches and parents are encouraging cheating or poor sportsmanship.

3. When coaches and parents are emotionally, mentally, and of course physically abusive.

4. When coaches and parents are risking a child’s safety.

5. When coaches and parents put winning at all costs above the children’s safety and positive character development.

It is often easier to just ignore it and not say anything. You may be afraid of people getting mad at you or accusing you of interfering. You may worry that you will be standing alone and that no one will echo your concerns.

Be the parent who’s not afraid to rock the boat when it comes to standing up for what is right. In doing so, you will not only make youth sports better for your kids, you will also be helping to raise a generation of boat-rockers!

Janis B. Meredith is a sports parenting blogger, podcaster, and life coach. She provides resources to help parents give their children a positive and growing youth sports experience. Learn more about good sports parenting habits in her book 11 Habits for Happy & Positive Sports Parents, available on Amazon.